On the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Posting of 95 Theses that prompted the Reformation of the Church in Europe, today, October 31, 2017, Rev. Dr. Russ Daye posted the following:
Nine Theses for the Church in North America
1. A great failing of today’s church is cowardice.
♦ We have been most cowardly in relation to the advance of scientific materialism. Surrendering the terrain of truth to those who reject any place for mystery or spirit, we have become ashamed to speak of the great, divine, Love in which we ‘live and move and have our being.’
♦ This has led to other cowardly failures: the failure to protect children from predation; the failure to protect the natural world; the failure to live into Jesus’ vision of justice.
2. As a remedy, we must live into the virtue of courage.
♦ The courage to confess to the world our faith in a great wellspring of love, hope, and creativity – the One Christians call ‘God.’
♦ The courage to speak truth to power, and to be allies to those that power would crush or push to the margins.
3. A great failing of today’s church is prejudice.
♦ An assumption of the superiority of the white, the privileged, the straight, and the Christian has long reigned in the North American ‘mainline’ church. It led to the Indian Residential Schools, the emptying of Africville, the oppression of sexual minorities, and distain toward other faiths.
4. As a remedy, we must live into the virtue of humility.
♦ We must listen carefully to the truths and the stories of people unlike ourselves, and only then share our own truths – in gentle voice and offered mostly by the example of living service (wherever possible with friends from other faiths).
5. A great failing of today’s church is hypocrisy.
♦ We preach about love but we often quarrel with each other and treat those different from ourselves with hostility.
♦ We preach about generosity but possess billions of dollars of real estate, on which sit near-empty buildings. These resources could be liberated to make reparations to those we have harmed (especially Aboriginal communities) and to respond to spiritual poverty, material poverty, and the destruction of nature.
6. As a remedy, we must live into the virtue of integrity.
♦ It is time to walk the gospel much more than we talk the gospel, and to offer Christian values to the world first through shining example.
7. A great failing of today’s church is mediocrity.
♦ Frozen by the fear of disappearing, and ashamed by our decline and failure, we risk almost nothing and flee from the pursuit of excellence as though it were anti-Christian.
8. As a remedy, we must live into the virtues of passion.
♦ We need the passion of joy to bring us alive again.
♦ We need the passion of hope to remind us that resurrection is our best teaching and that new life will follow death.
♦ We need the passions of love, including eros, to open our hearts and push warm, vital blood through our corporate body. We need to be so in love with Christ, with each other, and with the world that we will finally start taking some risks again.
9. All that we need to live into these virtues is offered afresh in every moment, every nanosecond, by an inexhaustible source of love and energy. We call this source ‘God,’ and are happy to befriend those who use other names.
Rev. Russ Daye
October 31, 2017
HERE is a link to John Demont’s article in the Chronicle Herald on Nov 1.